Hi all. Here is another one shot from my The House Which Time Forgot series. It happens at the end of the fourth book. Though this story is mostly AU, the event of the four book still happen for this story. It is the fallout over summer for Snape, Harry, and Vampyr. If you are not familiar with the long story, maybe skim over the last few chapters of the that story.
WARNING: Spanking of a teenager.
If only that stupid boy hadn't died. That was the problem, Snape fumed, that was the whole, horrid problem. Cedric has gotten himself killed, and now Harry was carrying around the grief.
Snape hadn't seen him that much since the death. Dumbledore had been keeping everyone busy with spy work and helping the students, and every time Snape had looked around, Harry was nowhere to be seen.
And now they had the long summer stretching before them, and Snape was stuck in the house with a dog and a fourteen-year-old who said nothing.
The first night back, Snape had started in his usual bullying – making Harry help with dinner and set the table and taking evil pleasure in naming all the chores Harry could expect over the summer. The year before, thirteen-year-old Harry had grumbled and pouted and pitched a fit on the third day which resulted in objects getting thrown and Snape making him weed the garden for hours.
It usually took a week of fighting for them to settle down for the summer, but last year Harry had fought about his friends visiting until Snape threatened to turn him into a mute animal for a month. Snape had expected this summer to be the same, but it was oddly disturbing to watch Harry stare numbly ahead as he entered the house.
Snape put him to work right away, but Harry moved robotically through the kitchen, cooking in the pots and pans and serving food on the plates.
"I've got a nice long list of chores for you this summer," Snape smirked as they sat down.
"Yes, sir," Harry answered quietly.
"No more sitting around for you, my boy. You'll be working from morning to night, dawn to dusk, until this entire place is sparkling. I've bought all new cleaning supplies – no magic at all."
Harry nodded and woodenly put a forkful of food in his mouth. He chewed six times and swallowed.
"And the garden," Snape tried again. "It must be plowed and watered and harvested – hundreds of hours of work."
Harry took another bite of food, chewed six times ,and swallowed.
"We're going to have a vegetable garden as well. I've decided that you will be eating only food out of that garden. So until it is ready, I guess you'll go hungry."
Another mouthful in, chewed, and swallowed.
"And eight o'clock bedtimes!" Snape declared, desperate to get some kind of reaction.
Another mouthful, and another.
Snape watched carefully for some sign of tears or face crumbling with emotion or pain on the boy's face, but Harry was completely stoic. The rest of the dinner progressed in silence. Harry ate all his food and looked at the floor until Snape had finished. Then Harry got up and cleared the table, carrying the dishes to the sink to wash them.
Afterwards, Harry went to the front room to stare out the window for the rest of the evening. Snape paced in the hallway, wondering what horrible thing he would have to do to snap the boy out of his blues. Yes, another boy had died. Yes, Voldemort had come back. Yes, Harry had seen awful things. Yes, Harry had been hurt, and he could have died, and he could have died beside Cedric, alone without Snape there.
Snape felt his throat tighten at the terror of that thought. The quiet, dark-haired boy staring out the window from those green eyes under the round glasses – dead and lifeless on the ground. If Snape had to find him like that, had to gather up his limp body with the life gone from those eyes –
"You're too reckless," Snape barked out. "You're impulsive and stupid, downright stupid."
Harry lifted empty eyes up to him and then dropped them to the floor.
"I think a long list of chores will help curb that impulsiveness of yours," Snape declared. "I've been far too easy on you, far too lenient. You need strictness and guidelines, and I'm here to see that you get them."
Snape waited, hoping for arguing or begging for his friends to come visit or even just tears. But Harry said nothing.
Snape gave up and sent him up to bed around eight-thirty. He purposefully did not go up to tell the brat goodnight, and he waited at the bottom of the stairs, straining for the sound of crying or whimpering, but Harry didn't make a sound. Vampyr went up to sleep in Harry's room, and Snape left both of their bedroom doors open in case Harry had a nightmare. He expected him to have them; Dumbledore counseled him that Harry would be torn apart over witnessing Cedric's death. But Harry slept all through the night.
The next morning, Snape tried the silent treatment. He didn't say a word to the boy all morning, leaving him to his own devices while Snape sat and read.
Harry was quiet through lunch as well. After Vampyr finished eating, the dog came over and put his head in Harry's lap, whining. Harry petted him twice.
"Why don't you take him outside and get him to run around a bit?" Snape suggested. "You can have an hour of playtime before chores."
Harry did take Vampyr outside, but as Snape peeked from the kitchen window, Harry took a seat on the grass and didn't move. Vampyr barked and ran to grab a stick in his mouth. He brought the stick to Harry, dropping it at his feet and began jumping around, clearly ready for a game of fetch.
Harry threw the stick twice and then refused to do more than wrap his arms around his legs and stare numbly at the grass. Later he stretched out on the grass and when the dog lay beside him, Harry petted him softly.
After an hour of this nonsense, Snape ordered him up and started him on chores. It was bizarrely reminisce of three years ago when he had kidnapped Harry and put him to work as a poor work boy in rags. Then Harry had gone along with the work because he had been scared to death of Snape. Now –
Harry did the work, but Snape couldn't tell what he was thinking. He swept and swept the floors and moped and waxed until Snape told him the floor was clean enough. And then Harry scoured the kitchen, blackened the stove, polished the window, scrubbed all the pots and pans, and cleaned the baseboards. After that, he went to hoe the garden beds to get them ready for planting. Snape finally called him in at six, and Harry stood there in the kitchen, sweaty and dirty, but silent.
"You need a bath," Snape announced. "Go up and scrub. No supper until you're spotless."
"Yes, sir," Harry nodded and slipped his grubby shoes off to head upstairs.
Snape prepared supper, sneering and glowering as he cooked. "What do you expect?" he growled at the dog. "Brat never knows when to stop. He should be upset and crying about what happened to him, not throwing himself into work. It's not healthy. Boy always was stupid. Work himself to death if I wasn't here."
Harry came down in fresh clothes with his hair combed back as neatly as possible. Since Snape had already set the table, Harry stepped towards the stove to serve the food.
"Oh, no, you don't," Snape frowned at him. "You don't get to take credit for any of this. I cooked while you were lolling in the tub. Sit down."
Snape put two full plates on the table. He sat down, and he caught Harry wincing as he picked up his fork. Harry tried to hide it, but Snape's sharp eyes weren't fooled. A second later, he stood by Harry's chair and caught the boy's wrists to examine his hands.
Snape expected Harry to yank away, but he sat, almost deflated as Snape inspected. The boy's hands were red, raw, and blistered in some places.
"You should have worn gloves," Snape scolded. "Can't you take care of yourself at all?"
Harry gave him an anguished look, and Snape held his breath, waiting for the emotions to follow.
But Harry dropped his gaze again.
Snape let out his breath. "Let's bandage you up."
He scrounged up some healing potion and some cloth strips and applied the potion to the worn hands, carefully rubbing the cream in and then twining the cloth around the boy's hands. Harry acted like he wasn't even there, his hands limp in Snape's careful fingers.
When they were finished, Harry didn't move.
"Eat your dinner," Snape ordered.
Another night of silence, listening for any sign of distress, but Harry didn't seem to be feeling anything. As far as Snape could see, Harry had become a zombie. And while Snape would be the first to admit that the boy could annoy and frustrate the most patient of men, he had no desire to live the whole summer with a ghost. He missed scolding the boy for his clamoring ways and all his energy, and Snape would never have confessed it out loud, but he missed the talking.
He liked the way Harry lifted his chin stubbornly and refused to let Snape win. He liked the spirit of the boy, his scrappy manners and determined attitude and good intention and kind heart.
Harry should be running around, getting into trouble and causing all kinds of naughtiness and demanding he get to see his friends. Where was that Harry? Damn it, he liked that Harry, and it killed Snape to see the broken-hearted shadow he had become.
The next day, Snape felt his temper boiling over.
Harry ate his breakfast and cleaned his room and was ready to start on his chores when Snape stormed over to his side.
"No chores today! I want you outside, playing with the dog. You amuse yourself for a while – or walk down the lane a bit to get some air."
"There's air in the backyard," Harry said as he obediently went outside. Again he sat on the grass and didn't really look at anything.
Snape paced around the kitchen twice in an effort to calm his rage. Blasted boy and his sullenness. After five loops around the kitchen, the idea occurred to Snape that he was going at the whole problem wrong. He was a potions master – this entire problem should be treated like a convoluted potion gone wrong.
He transformed the living room corner into a potions lab and began brewing ingredients into cauldrons. By mid-morning, he had several potions bubbling, and by lunch, he had seven different vials of potions cooling on a small rack.
"Harry," he called out with an evil smile, "do step in here for a minute."
He hoped to see trepidation cross the boy's face at what he was about to endure at the hands of his tyrant father, but Harry's face remained blank as he surveyed the corner. "Do you want me to scrub the cauldrons?"
"What? No! Well, maybe later. But first, I have some potions I want you to try. You don't mind, do you?" Snape waited, hoping Harry would object, would flatly refuse to taste a single one, and then he would have to chase Harry down and force him to take the potions, all which would mean Harry was getting back to his normal self.
"No, sir," Harry answered meekly. He put his hand out for the first.
Glowering, Snape handed him one. Harry swallowed it with the smallest of grimaces.
"May I have some water?" he asked.
"No," Snape declared.
Harry was silent.
The first potion was to heal any physical ailments.
Snape waited and then asked, "Do your hands feel better?"
"Yes, sir," Harry nodded.
"Take another one," Snape thrust out the next vial.
Harry swallowed all of them with wince and a shudder at the nasty taste, but no comment. Snape waited hopefully, watching to see if they brighten Harry's mood. His face got more color, he seemed to stand a little straighter, and his mouth didn't look so droopy, but he still wasn't Harry.
Furious, Snape crossed his arms. "You rotten boy, you had to ruin my potions! Get to scrubbing these cauldrons. If I can't seem my face in all of them, you'll wish you had never set foot in this house ever again."
"I've wished that before," Harry said, raising his gaze for a moment.
Snape perked up, hoping that the brat's rebellious attitude had changed, that he would have Harry back – willful, naughty, sprightly Harry who never lost the opportunity to snip right back at Snape.
But Harry gathered up the cauldrons and cared them to the kitchen without another word.
Yet, it had been a sign, a glimmer of hope that Harry was still in there. Maybe Harry was trapped inside, banging to get out, but held inside this shell of a boy who walked around numbly.
Snape considered talking to Dumbledore, getting help from someone who would understand how to deal with grief and loss and anger and hurt and all the things that Snape did not like addressing. But no, Harry belonged with him, Harry had chosen him, Harry had at the brave age of twelve made the decision to stay with him, and together they had figured out how to live with each other. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't always ideal, but at the end of the day, they were Snape and Harry, learning how to cope with each other.
The afternoon dragged by, and around six, Snape told Harry to go fix some dinner. Harry obeyed, and an hour later, delicious smells were drifting out of the kitchen. Snape went in to see Harry putting the covered bowls on the table, a dinner fit for a king. Vampyr was outside, whining at the door to come in, but Harry left him there while he took the tops of the bowls and waited for Snape to sit down.
Once they both had food on their plates, Harry started his mechanical eating again, one bite after another. Snape stiffened.
He put two fingers on the side of his own plate and slowly pushed it to the edge of the table, closer and closer . . .
Harry froze as he watched.
Keeping his eyes on Harry, Snape gave the plate one last nudge. The plate slid off the table and crashed to floor. It broke into three pieces, splattering food on the wooden floor.
Snape have a half-smile, daring Harry to do anything.
Harry blinked. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll clean that up."
He stood up to reach for the wash rag, and that's when Snape snapped.
He lunged out of his chair and caught Harry by the ear.
"Ow," Harry softly protested, but Snape dragged him into the living room.
Snape sat down on a chair and pulled Harry across his lap. Tucking him down with one arm, Snape spanked him twice, hard.
"I'm sorry," Harry blurted out. "I sorry you didn't like supper. I'll cook something else."
Snape spanked him again. "Don't you dare suggest that this is about that! You know why I'm spanking you. Why am I?"
"Because I upset you," Harry grabbed the leg of the chair. "Because you're cross at something I did."
"Oh, I'm cross all right," Snape agreed. "But that's not why you're getting punished. I am sick of seeing you mope around here, depressed."
"I'm not moping. I've been good, doing everything you asked."
"Too good," Snape walloped him again. "You've been angelic, trying to prove something, I don't know what, but I don't like it. This is not the Harry I'm used to, the Harry I adopted. This is some perfect, horrid, pleasing little clone who does everything I ask and has absolutely no personality of his own. I don't like him."
Snape swatted hard, and Harry began making soft noises of distress.
"So I am going to keep you over my knee and discipline you until I get back the Harry I'm used to," Snape promised.
Harry remained silent, and for few moments, the only sound in the room was Snape's hand crashing against his bottom. The sting was getting more and more uncomfortable, and finally Harry cried out,
"But I don't like him. The old Harry – he, he, he made so many mistakes. I wanted him to go."
"That is not your choice to make," Snape announced. "I liked the Harry I knew, and he's the one that's going to be staying here this summer, not this perfect brat who answers every question with 'Yes, sir'! If I had wanted a parrot, I'd have bought one and returned you."
"But Cedric," Harry heaved for breath. "He died – it was my fault – OW!"
Snape spanked him again, just as hard. "I'm not listening to any of that nonsense either. You might feel responsible, and I'm sure you bear some of the blame, but you're not going to change because the Dark Lord set up a trap to kill you. You didn't perform the killing curse on Cedric, and you did everything you could to defeat the evil that night."
"So I did the right thing and I still get spanked?" Harry kicked his legs the least bit. "That's not fair."
Snape felt a ray of hope rise up in him. There was the old Harry, a small glimpse of him.
"I'll say what's fair and what's not fair, you wretched boy. Calm yourself – you have a lot more coming."
"You can't punish me if I'm not bad!" Harry jerked his whole body in frustration. "You can't tell me how to feel, and how to act, and how to think, and then spank me for trying to be good. That's insane!"
"No, it's insane when you hold all your feelings inside and don't let them out."
"You don't let your feelings out!"
"That's because I'm the bitter old potions master who agreed to take in a bratty orphan to make his life chaos. You're the bratty orphan who has spirit and determination and talks back and refuses to obey. You are not a quiet, obedient child – that is not who I adopted and I don't like having him around."
"Oh!" Harry clenched his hands into fists. "I wish I were big enough to punch you. One day, I'm going to knock your block off."
"Good," Snape slapped his hand down again. "You feel that. Meanwhile, accio ruler."
"No!" Harry tried to turn to see what was happening. "You're not going to paddle me. I won't let you paddle me – Sna-a-ape!"
Snape had caught the ruler in mid-air and proceeded to whack down it on the seat of Harry's trousers with considerable energy. Harry writhed for a minute against the injustice of it all, and he yelled out,
"No, I won't cry."
"No one said you have to cry," Snape kept up a steady rhythm, moving around to make sure he delivered the smacks evenly.
"You want me to cry," Harry's breathing hitched. "You want me to blubber like a baby. I won't – you can't make me."
Snape answered by six sharp swats. He could tell the boy was close now, and he hated having to do it, but –
"You have one minute, and them I'm taking off my belt. A good strapping, and you'll be crying rivers."
"I hate you!" Harry screeched, kicking his legs. "I hate living here. I hate Hogwarts. I hate Dumbledore, and Ron, and Hermione. I hate Cedric, and I hate that he died. I hate that I let him die, and I hate myself. I hate me because I let him die, and I should have died in his place, and I can't stand that you still care about me when I'm such a rotten person. I am, Snape, I'm bad and I – ooowww!"
Snape paddled him fast, and Harry let out the tears as if the dam had broken. Rather than his usual soft crying or silent sobs, he wailed as if his heart was breaking.
Snape gave him two last swats and then reached to pull Harry up.
"No," Harry yelled hysterical. "No, don't comfort me. Don't you dare comfort me. I deserved that. I deserve pain. I deserve to be tortured and killed and hurt. Hurt me, Snape – slap me across the face. Tear my hair out, cut me, make me bleed – do something! Make the pain go away. Make me stop hurting inside. Please, please, make it stop."
Snape firmly pulled Harry by the waist to sit down on his left thigh, wrapping both arms around him tightly.
"No!" Harry shrieked. "No, don't try to comfort me. I can't bear it. Please, please, don't be nice. I can't stand nice, not now."
Snape held him even tighter, and Harry cried so hard he nearly choked on the tears. They spilled down his cheeks and onto Snape's sleeve, and they kept coming while he continued to beg incoherently not to be comforted.
Harry struggled to get away at one point, but Snape was unbending so Harry finally gave up. He cried brokenly for a few more minutes, and then he leaned against Snape's chest, gasping for breath. Another minute passed.
Harry tucked his hands under his chin, his arms against his own chest, and he slowly leaned his head against Snape's shoulder.
"Don't be nice," Harry muttered as a few more tears slid down.
Snape reached one hand up to brush over his unruly hair and then he tightened both arms around Harry again.
"I hate that you're nice," Harry mumbled. "Used to be mean – should be mean now."
"You want to be paddled some more?" Snape asked.
"Yes," Harry muttered, defiantly.
"That's unfortunately. You don't always get want you want. In fact, I'm making it my sole mission this summer to see that you don't get anything you want."
"Git," Harry let out his breath in a huff. He pulled his arms in closer just so Snape could hold him tighter.
"And if I ever hear you talking about hating yourself or wishing you were dead or feeling guilty over Cedric, I'll give you something to cry about, my boy. You won't stop wailing until school begins, and I'll see you crying in front of your friends everyday. Do we have an understanding?"
"But I could have –"
"Cedric shouldn't have –"
"I understand," Harry pouted slightly. He stayed quiet for a second and then said, "Can any of be my fault?"
"The whole Goblet of Fire and all those infernal tasks – I hold you responsible for scaring me all year."
Snape felt Harry relax a bit more. Snape wondered what else they would have to say, how long Harry would need to come to grips with his grief. He despised the boy for what he made Snape do next – Snape reached a hand up to rub Harry's shoulders. The boy was so tense – his shoulders felt knottier and thinner than ever. Snape set to work on the biggest knot, rubbing and digging his fingers deep into Harry's shoulder and neck until he felt the muscles relax.
Harry tried squirm away, protesting, "Don't be nice."
"You keep this up and I'll hire a full-time masseur to pummel you every night," Snape had the usual grouchiness in his voice. "And you ever put your name in something that dangerous again . . ."
"I told you that wasn't me," Harry objected. "Mad Eye did it."
"You enjoyed the fame of it all. You have any idea how frantic I was after each task?"
Harry smirked in satisfaction, and Snape dropped his hand to give Harry a firm swat against the bottom.
"Stop," Harry grumbled. "I won't be able to sit down at all."
"You're sitting now."
"Not comfortably," Harry squirmed, but he seemed to burrow closer to Snape, not quite willing to get up yet. "And it's still a little my fault."
"Hush," Snape ordered.
A few minutes later, Harry swiped away the last of his tears. He climbed off Snape's knee and ran a hand through his hair, making it stand straight up. He dropped his other hand behind him to rub at his sore bottom.
"You're going to pay for that," Harry grumbled. "You can't punish me for being too good. What are you going to do when I'm bad?"
"Ship you off to Durmstrang," Snape stood up. "Only I know you would find trouble there, so I have to keep you close. Now, go wash your face, and we'll finish dinner, and then you'll find a place to settle down and write to your friends."
"My friends? I just saw them a few days ago. And you don't like when I write to them."
"I never implied any such thing," Snape retorted. "Your friends will want to know about your plans this summer. You'll be begging to have them come visit, I'm sure."
"No, not anymore," Harry sighed in resignation.
"Don't give me that martyred look, or it will be the strap for you. You will write to your friends and tell them that they can come visit. Sometime later in the summer, preferably after your birthday."
"Really?" Harry's eyes lit up. "I can invite my friends over? To stay overnight? For several days?"
"No more than two days."
"A week," Harry countered.
Snape pressed his lips together, torn between his gratitude at seeing Harry being himself again and his frustration at having the boy haggle with him. "We'll see. But we're going to have rules when they're here and –"
"It's going to be brilliant!" Harry bounced up and down on his feet. "They will come and visit – but where will they sleep?"
"I was thinking they'd come one at a time and share your room," Snape frowned.
"Even Hermione?" Harry blinked.
"Why must you be friends with a girl?"
"And there's not a chance Ron will let her come without him. He'll be sure she'll get hurt here or something awful. Can – can I ask for a birthday gift early?"
"No," Snape automatically responded.
"Oh, what do you want? If it's a new broom, absolutely not."
Harry shifted, dropping his gaze and lifting it up tentatively. For a second, he looked like he had an hour ago.
"Tell me," Snape ordered.
"Can we build a new room on the house? Another bedroom upstairs that could go over a – a study for you?"
"What?" Snape roared.
A month later, Snape growled under his breath as he waited by Harry's side for Ron and Hermione to arrive. Harry could not help grinning. He was thrilled to have his friends come visit, even with all Snape's temper flare-ups.
The night before Harry had had a moment's panic about the new rooms and had rushed over the house until Snape told him to stop. Then Harry had developed a bout of guilt again over Cedric's death and tried to hide it from Snape. When Snape heard him crying in the bathroom, Snape had him get ready for bed. Then Snape proceeded to spank him, and Harry went to bed sniffling, still sad over Cedric but understanding that it was all right for him to be happy even after what had happened. He wished Snape could have just told him instead, but Snape never did things the easy way (or the comfortable way).
Ron and Hermione were coming by portkey, and Harry watched the old teapot on the other side of the road, trying not to look too eager.
He had moved into the new bedroom, which was bigger and had another twin-sized bed in it for Ron. Hermione would get Harry's old room which had a new bed, new drapes, and a fresh coat of paint.
Vampyr nuzzled at Harry's hand, trying to understand why he and Snape were just standing there.
Suddenly, a loud cracking noise shot through the air, and Ron and Hermione tumbled to the ground.
With a bark, Vampyr leaped forward towards Ron. With a cry, Ron jumped back and started running down the road, hollering, "Nice doggie, good doggie – ah, Ha-a-a-arry!"
"Oh honestly, Ron!" Hermione threw down her small suitcase. "Don't antagonize him."
Harry's grin grew as he broke into a run after his friends. If he would have looked back at that moment, he would have seen a look of relief on Snape's face, relief that his adopted son was finally healing.
But of course when they finally got Vampyr away from Ron and grabbed the suitcases to head into the house, Snape's face was stern and disapproving and grumpy at having to put up with such disruptive teenagers.
Harry shook his head as he closed the front door after them. It would be a long week.